Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer Vacation for Houseplants; Tips for Moving Them Outside by Rebecca Anderson

Oxalis Plant photo by Rebecca Anderson
Many houseplants will get a boost from being outdoors during the warm summer months. Increased sunlight exposure will let them recover from the low light levels inside most homes. Since most houseplant originate from tropical areas, they should not be moved outdoors until night time temperatures are above 55 degrees. Place them in an area with partial shade and good wind protection. Ideal locations would include a covered porch or under a tree. After a few days, sun-loving plants such as jade (Crassula ovata), poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and hibiscus (Hibiscus sp.) can be moved to a full-sun location. Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera sp.), umbrella trees (Schefflera arboticola) and citrus plants prefer to stay in the shade. Exposing a houseplant to excessive sun before it has been hardened off will cause photo oxidization, or a yellowing of the leaves. This process is the plant version of a sunburn. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Large Miller Moth Population Expected by Mary Small

Euxoa auxiliaris Miller Moth
According to CSU Extension Entomologist, Dr. Whitney Cranshaw, “miller moth” numbers will be above average. Because the numbers of their caterpillars found in crops and other locations this spring, the moth numbers may be way above average. 
How much of a nuisance they will be is dependent on moisture and numbers of flowering plants around. Moisture has been good, contributing to the development of flowering plants. While last week’s freeze may have damaged some flowers, they are still abundant and will be attractive to the moths. Moths feed on nectar in the flowers.
Flowering plants most often visited by miller moths in our area include lilac, cherries, spirea, cotoneaster, horse chestnut, raspberry and Russian olive. Dark and dense plants such as cotoneaster, spruce and pines are most used by miller moths for shelter around homes.
The moths become a problem for humans when they accidentally enter homes.  During the day moths seek shelter in cracks and crevices around homes, in door entries and near windows.  At night, the moths become active and may be attracted to indoor or exterior lighting.

The major infestation is not expected for a few more weeks, about mid-June.
For detailed information on miller moths, including deterring them from your home, see this information.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Caution on Compost . . . Can It Be Too Much of a Good Thing? by Patti O'Neal

Amend, amend, and amend.  It is the mantra we all chant when managing our Colorado soils.  We here at CSU are constantly recommending that you add organic materials to your soils to improve water and nutrient holding capacity if you garden in sandy, gravelly or decomposed granite soils and to improve soil structure, drainage and filtration of water and nutrients in clay soils.  Improving the soil is still important for good plant growth and production of fruit and flowers.

But can you have too much of a good thing?  Much is being made, and justifiably so, of phosphates these days and their adverse effect on our groundwater supplies.  As a result many states are adopting laws to prevent the addition of phosphates to many products for household and outdoor use.

Friday, May 16, 2014

How to Plant Tomatoes in Colorado

It just snowed here but we know that tomato planting time is nigh! Here's a video from Carol O'Meara, Boulder County Extension Agent on the proper way to plant tomatoes in Colorado.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lawns Struggling as Spring Gets Underway by Mary Small

It’s not that unusual for lawns to look a bit tough right now, especially when MotherNature hasn’t been cooperative with moisture! What’s a person to do?
First, try to figure out what is causing the lawn problem.  Look at it as a whole and see if you can pick out a pattern to the damage.

A colleague of mine stood took this picture from her home’s second floor window. You can see that some areas of the lawn are brown and some are green.  The damage is happening in swaths, not small spots or circles. This pattern is pretty typical of poor sprinkler function and it means that the sprinkler system needs a closer look. (Especially note the foreground and the area near the raised bed in the background.)The problem could be that heads are plugged or partially plugged, so aren’t applying enough water. They could be tipped due to the freeze/thaw cycles from winter. Maybe the head is a bit high and was dislodged during aeration or mowing. But you won’t know until you look at the sprinkler heads and check sprinkler delivery.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tending to Roses in the Spring by Donna Duffy

It’s finally beginning to feel like spring! Your roses are probably showing signs of life again with canes turning green and leaf buds starting to form. But this is Colorado, and we’re not quite out of freeze danger yet. With that in mind, the following are some steps you can take to help your roses get off to a good start. 


Thursday, May 1, 2014

What is an Heirloom Plant by Caroline Reardon

njhealthfederation.org
An heirloom seed today will grow into a plant that is an exact replica of its 50- to 100-year-old ancestor. And the seed of this plant will grow into an exact replica of itself for future generations to enjoy. Wind, bees, birds or other natural helpers have pollinated it —no scientific intervention to “improve” its production, uniformity, transportability and resistance to diseases or pesticide—and it has been cultivated. An heirloom plant is a vintage treasure and an important link from our past to our future.

Why should I grow them?  Just taste one! Heirloom fruits and vegetables are prized for their amazing flavors. Our gardening forefathers and foremothers saved seeds selected from their most delicious produce to grow again the next year, and then the next year and the next. We now benefit from their selective process, saving the best to grow the best. You can continue this heritage by saving seeds from your favorites to grow in your garden next year.